Yesterday was the first encounter Rémy had with the school he’ll start at in September à la rentrée.
After the inscription to the school through the mairie, we had been informed that a visit of the school was to take place. First of all when we first enquired about the inscription, this had been put back a couple of times. So we were wondering when the visit was to take place.
Anyway, in the end it seemed to be a simple straight forward affair. We turned up along with a few other parents with our children. I suppose I was expecting to see more people there, despite the small size of our village (1,300 inhabitants). Rémy class will comprise of just 11 children, only 3 of which are boys. He quickly got stuck in with the little girls anyway trying to drague them. I think the parents were a lot more nervous than the kids.
This is Rémys first step into a life of having to conform to rules outside of the home. In general even at this early age, children are expected to keep to set rules and be at school at the specified times. Even absences have to be accounted for, just as per older kids in the infants section. Personally I didn’t start school until I was 5 and never had any happy memories of attending. So as a parent I am nervous for Rémy, even if he isn’t – or at least he doesn’t seem to be. All he wanted to do was be in the thick of it – which at the end of the day makes me feel a lot better.
After the Directrice explained what the school was about, we were taken on a tour of the dortoire and classroom. The playground and the canteen, although we didn’t get to see the latter as the key couldn’t be found. While we were looking around, Rémy was happily playing on the slide in the playground with a few other kids. An older girl, who was the sister of a little girl in Rémys class took him under her wing.
By chance we ended up standing next to the Directrice, so I took the opportunity to ask if it bothered her if I were to speak English to Rémy at the school. Somehow I expected some opposition to speaking a foreign language in a French school, but she told me that it really wasn’t a problem and that she was all for that. She felt that in bilingual families children should be able to benefit from that, in particular with English as it will be invaluable in the future. Which is how I feel too – one day Rémy will be able to use it in his job!
After that, a cleaner called Thumpah’s name – which surprised her as she didn’t know her. So the cleaner introduced herself as the sister of Thumpah’s first nounou (child minder). She was totally surprised that she recognised her. Thumpah’s nounou tragically died in a road accident when she was very small, even so Thumpah remembered her even from that early age.
So we came away from the school feeling a lot more confident. Added to which Rémy will also see his 8 year old cousin there now and again when he starts in September. Then when he reaches 6 years old, his sister(?) will start at the same school – we hope. This year they’ve had to drop a class, so that is an ominous sign that school class sizes are reducing in our little village.